Tod's picture

This week Chaosium announced the release of the Basic Roleplaying System Reference Document (SRD).

Under the provisions of the Basic Roleplaying Open Game License (OGL), designers can create their own roleplaying games using the Basic Roleplaying rules engine, royalty-free and without further permission from Chaosium Inc.

The Basic Roleplaying SRD is based on Basic Roleplaying, the simple, fast, and elegant skill-based percentile system that is the core of most Chaosium roleplaying games, including Call Of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, SuperWorld, and others.

Note: the BRP Open Game License for use of the Basic Roleplaying system differs from the Wizards Open Game License and has different terms and conditions.


DeReel's picture

... to enroll all the enthusiasts out there for producing material to play their games, and just generally, to make them think about their games.
What was it like before SRDs ? Had magazines to pay something to editors to be able to publish scenarios for their games ?

Vile Traveller's picture

The consensus after a couple of days of analysis is that it's the worst attempt at an OGL since D&D 4E:

While kicking off a small-time publishing bonanza in 2000, the OGL has fooled a lot of people into thinking that derivative work was only possible by using the OGL. The IP protection for RPGs in terms of copyright and trademark law is extremely limited in most cases. I can't think of any magazine article or adventure that would require licencing from the game it was written for. IP owners usually resort to treats of legal action if they don't like what fans or publishers are doing in relation to their game, but it never results in action because their lawyers would advise them they are likely to fail in court. However, most fan writers and small publishers don't want the exposure to risk so they may comply with what is essentially an empty threat. Bringing it back to BRP, for those who remember the 90's "RuneQuest Renaissance" saw a blossoming of fan sites expanding upon the world of Glorantha and the rules for the game (and a few scenarios). The notorious Issaries Fan Policy with its aggressive and unclear wording caused most of them to shut down just in case they were in violation (who wants to go to court over a hobby?), and quite likely in disgust at being treated as a criminal for loving the IP owner's creation. This new BRP NGOL has a similar issue in that most people's concern over the poor wording are met with the response that Chaosium doesn't want people cloning their games. Well, no-one ever released an SRD under the OGL in order to let people clone their games, but it happens - if you don't like it, don't release an SRD. But don't expect people not to clone your game, anyway.

Tod's picture

I advise anyone considering using this SRD for a marketed product or original IP to read the twitter thread linked above.

DeReel's picture

Anne Elk quotations set apart, I would like to open a perspective on industry vs hobby.

It looks like at some point in the history of the hobby, probably very early, trail of crumbs marketing (selling core rules, plus options, plus modules, etc.) has lead to sub optimal rules clarity, turning GMs, and soon players, into "guardians of Secrets". When players began to peak through the mists of the monopoly, probably thanks to the internet, they saw each other and shackled their chains.

I don't know if it's only the Pretend play hooligan in me, but in my view, the proliferation of simulation mechanics regularly reduced player input. It's like some designers were afraid of what players could pull at the table. Of course, it's also a taste, and a respectable one, I'm not arguing with that. But it also is a specific response to reaching a wider audience (playing with strangers, attracting new gamers, playing at conventions, etc.) Anyway, I am glad some TTRPG communities gathered their wits to conciliate wider audience and quality safe participatory play.